Species Account

Tellina (Fabulina) fabula Gmelin, 1791

Tellinoidea : Tellinidae

Tebble name: Tellina (Fabulina) fabula (Gmelin)
Smith & Heppell name: Fabulina fabula (Gmelin, 1791)

To size: To 20mm. Shell Structure: Thin, brittle. Equivalve: Slightly inequivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks just behind midline. Tumidity: Flattened. Outline: Narrowly ovate/elongate, wedge-shaped, anterior dorsal margin shorter, sloping gently to the broadly rounded anterior margin. Posterior dorsal margin straight to narrowly rounded, almost pointed posterior margin. Posterior ventral margin almost straight until midline, becoming broadly rounded. Posterior region curved to right.

Sculpture: Fine concentric lines. In the RV lines run diagonally from right to left. Margin: Smooth. Ligament: Brown arched band extends one third the length of posterior margin on a nymph plate. Hinge: 2 cardinals in each valve; in LV anterior is bifid, in RV posterior bifid. In LV one short tiny posterior lateral, no anterior lateral; in RV anterior lateral prominent, posterior lateral small, below and behind nymph plate. Pallial Musculature: Pallial sinus deep, almost to anterior adductor, peaks beneath beak. Cruciform muscles indistinct. Periostracum: Thin, transparent and glossy. Colour: White, sometimes with orange of yellow tinges.

Distribution & Ecology

A burrower in fine silty and muddy sand. Lives from the low intertidal to approximately 30m. Widely distributed around all coasts.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Key Features & Similar Species

This is the only tellin with scissulate sculpture but this is difficult to see in small shells.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Tellina (Fabulina) fabula Gmelin, 1791. Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Gmelin J F 1791. Carli Linnaei systema Naturae per regna tria naturae. Editio decimatertia, aucta, reformata, Vermes Testacea 1 (6). Lipsiae. 3021-3910.


  • Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland
    Provides resources for understanding, identifying, recording, and conserving molluscs
    Check List of European Marine Mollusca
  • MarLIN
    The Marine Life Information Network for Britain and Ireland (MarLIN) provides information for marine environmental management, protection and education. It is a centre of excellence in spatially based and time-series marine biological information and supports good stewardship in the marine environment.
  • NBN Gateway
    National Biodiversity Network's Gateway. Use it to explore UK biodiversity data, as contributed by participating data providers.
  • BivAToL
  • MarBEF
  • Malacological Society
  • Unitas Malacologica
  • Census of Marine Life
  • MarBEF
    MarBEF, a network of excellence funded by the European Union and consisting of 94 European marine institutes, is a platform to integrate and disseminate knowledge and expertise on marine biodiversity, with links to researchers, industry, stakeholders and the general public.

Image Gallery

Record last modified: 22/03/2016